Coming back from a long weekend in the mountains, and I find that the weekend I am late in reporting on is also somewhat… long! Well, long in racing distances and achievements.
Some, on the club Facebook page, might have thought the weekend was all about Roth. In some ways it was. But in many ways, it wasn’t – as we again demonstrated the breadth of events the club regularly enters. We did in fact have at least one other long distance race, some middle distance events, and we took our bikes to the mountains. A busy few days!
Fear not, if you want to read about Roth, it is here… you’ll just have to be patient.
But first: we have a very important weekend approaching, with the Club Standard Distance Champs at Thorpe Park. Two things: (1) if you have not entered as Ful-on Tri you need to fix this before the weekend (see Rob’s post on Facebook!); (2) we only have 9 female entrants vs 23 male: we can surely bump this up!!
Maratona dles Dolomites
The Maratona dles Dolomites is a popular (well normally) cycling sportive with the club. Taking in the epic scenery of the Italian Sud-Tyrol, it offers some spectacular mountain passes and well organised mass cycle racing. Ordinarily we have at least 10 or more taking part, but, owing to a clash of events, this year only 5 hardy souls (well 4 plus one fool-hardy soul): Sian Morgan; James Ellis; Claire Hawkins; Tim Dearden; and, yours truly.
Three options are available, and riders choose the route based on their ability and how they feel on the day. The classic (138km) takes in 7 passes and 4,230 metres of climb, with the formidable Passo Giau to contend with. At the shorter end (55km), riders only have to deal with 4 passes and 1,780 metres of climb (a walk in the park… … )
Following veritable heat wave conditions up to the day before (30’C in the afternoon), the weather mercifully cooled to a more respectable level – although this meant some rain later in the day for those on the long course.
Taking on the classic, James came in first in 5hr 54min, earning a front row pen place next time! Sian and Tim also beat the classic course, finishing 6 minutes apart – a truly epic performance!
Claire and I both rode the short course, though it should be pointed out that Claire would have ridden the medium, 106km, course but for looking out for another rider with a mechanical issue, and had bags of energy at the end of the 55km Sella Ronda loop (compared with me). That said, the Apfel Strudel was very pleasant at the top of the final pass before the return to Corvara.
Unfinished business for some!
Marmotte – Granfondo Alpes – 174km
At the more gnarly end of mountain cycling, Jonnty Bloomfield was competing in the Marmotte Granfondo Alpes, a hard-core 174km of tough Alpine passes and eye-watering gradients. The cols involved include the: Col du Glandon, 22km 5.5%; Col du Télégraphe, 11.5km 7.3%; Col du Galibier, 17.6km 7%; and, Alpe d’Huez, 13km 8%.
Jonnty cruised round this spikey nightmare in a fantastic time of 8hr 47min!!
Mare Nostrum – European Coastline Relay Run
Last week, Nick van Praag took a leaf out of Katie Wright’s book of racing logic and took part in two stages (Monday and Friday) of the Mare Nostrum relay race. This is a staged relay run covering the entire coastline of Europe. Each stage is 100km long, with participants starting at 7am and having to complete within 24 hours before passing on the baton to the next runner.
Nick says: “The event is a giant relay run where teams of 2+ run along the European Coast in stages of up to 100km (usually less, ~84km = double marathon). It’s organised by a very good friend of mine. A campervan follows and supports the runners en-route, and a great social media crew as well. The places are stunning and the scenery breath-taking. Although the distance may sound daunting, it is very feasible and enjoyable (runners high guaranteed). Most stages have been taken up to October, but a few places remain. If anyone is interested, I’m happy to put you in touch with the organisers.”
Link to the event here: https://www.runthemarenostrum.com/
Wales Long Course Weekend
Set over 3 days (Friday to Sunday), the Wales Long Course Weekend lets entrants compete on individual legs of the Ironman Wales course, with Swim, Bike and Run races on separate days.
Testing their legs on the Pembrokeshire coast were: Ben Harrison; and, Sapna Sekhri.
Following last year’s mass club entry to Austria Ironman, this year was a quieter affair, with only Dan Steele and Michel Radermecker competing. Temperatures were a little kinder than in Frankfurt, but only marginally – the mercury still hit 28’C, and humidity soared to over 70% – making this possibly the toughest long event of the weekend. A small saving grace was the wind was minimal (although probably not so great for the run!)
Dan was first in for the club in a time of just under 10hr 38min, with Michel claiming a fast sub 13hr time of 12hr 52min! Very swift performances considering the conditions!!
Outlaw Half Holkam
Outlaw’s latest middle distance triathlon was being held at Holham Hall near the beautiful Norfolk coastline, with an undulating, but by no means aggressive bike course.
Competing for the club were: Nick Goodfellow; and, Alistair Chappelle.
Alistair was first in, finishing in a time of 4hr 24min, coming 20th overall and winning his race category! Nick was a mere 21 minutes behind, just missing out on a podium spot by 3 places! Not only did both achieve awesome finish times (significantly below 5 hours), they also ran sub 1:45 half marathons after cycling the 90k course in under 2:30!!
ETU Aquabike Champs
In Romania, the ETU middle distance championships were taking place, with Chris Brown competing in the Aquabike and Ceri Ruzzi popping up to race the triathlon event.
Chris had a great swim, tore through T1 and finished solidly with a time of just under 3hr 24min, in a race where the bike leg was the real differentiator – closing off local competition by a good 3 minutes!
Ceri raced well to finish squarely in the middle of her Age Group, completing the Middle Distance triathlon in a time of just over 5hr 8min!
Castle Tri Series – Hever Castle – Festival of Endurance
The Castle Tri Series is ever expanding. In previous incarnations, each historic venue held events over a single weekend. Now, as the popularity of multi-sport variants, and middle to long distances has increased, some of the venues have taken to running over more than one set of dates. So it was that, this weekend, Hever Castle saw the “Festival of Endurance” set of races being held – a good two months ahead of its main race weekend in September.
From the club, we had Rob Carder taking on the Middle Distance (Gauntlet) race, and Fran Donnelly competing in the long distance Aquabike.
The Kentish hills are by no means flat. Despite this, Rob put in a solid performance, with quick transitions, and a well-paced 2hr half marathon following a tough bike section, finishing in 6hr 50min – well within the middle of the field!
Choosing the non-run option, Fran raced over the longer 3.8km swim and 120km bike legs to finish in just under 7hr 30min!!
And finally… Challenge Roth
If you’re wondering where half the club coaches vanished to, or what the huddled conversations in the pub or exclusive week/weekend training sessions were all about… well, it was all to do with this year’s mass entry to a long distance triathlon – Challenge Roth, in the south of Germany – the 2019 ‘A’ race for 15 club members.
As always, several of the club do different long distance races during the season, so I should point out that extra inches here are only due to the mass club participation, not because this race is any more important than other races club members have done.
There are already several great personal write-ups on Facebook which I will not dare to duplicate or compete with – though perhaps one or two could be added as a Race Experience blog on the club website – but I will try to capture the overall set of achievements and let you talk to the individuals involved to get the back-stories.
On the day 14 of the 15 club members signed up took part: Carolina Lanza; Vince Rowe; Julia Rowe-May; Richard Harper; Mark Sempers; Nicola Anderson; Guido Hakkenberg; Piere Guilpain; Martin Bruwer; Trin Head; Shaun Wood; Jamie McCanny; Ruth Purbrook; and, Christian Bergara. Sadly, Carolina had sustained a stress fracture in the run up to the race and could only do the swim leg.
But first, a few of the support crew (who included Eimear Toomey, Sybille Schorm and Walt Rothon, to name but a few) entered the Frauenlauf the day before, with Eimear and Sybille flying around the 5km track in very tasteful pink T-shirts!
Race conditions were ultimately far more favourable than they could have been, or were around most of Europe at the weekend. Compared with Ironman Austria (the same day) and Ironman Frankfurt (previous weekend), temperatures were considerably lower and less oven-like, with only a slight headwind on the return legs of the bike course to deal with. Early rain gradually eased off to yield perfect race conditions and some fast times on the non-technical bike course.
First in for the club – an early birthday present – was Ruth, in a time of just over 9hr 12min. She not only came in first in her age group, but first non-pro woman overall and 69th non-pro overall, earning a write-up in Tri247!! There must surely be great things left for the season!
Next notable result was Trin, who has trained under Pete Doubleday’s watchful grey hairs over the season. She smashed the race and was the only other club member to podium, grabbing 3rd in her age group in a time of just under 10hr 13min.
Shaun was the fastest man for the club, coming in 9hr 53min, followed swiftly by Richard, a mere 2 minutes later (a testament to the clockwork training he has put in over the last few months).
Next up, just shy of his Copenhagen PB, was Mark in just under 10hr 50min (despite a collision), and, for someone that hasn’t put the same run training in this year, he absolutely smashed the marathon leg!
Nicola, Jamie, Christian, Martin, Guido and Piere all finished sub-12hr, with Julia only fractionally over the 12hr mark (a massive testament to committed training – given this was only 20 minutes off her speedy Copenhagen time)!
Finally, Vince smashed out a sub-14hr PB of just under 13hr 48min!!
As if these results weren’t enough: in the team placings, our women placed second overall!!!
Much to celebrate in the Ironman Celebration party!!!!
Please do now turn your attention to the Club Champs this weekend. And, if you’re missing in the above results or you have other races coming up, as usual simply email me on [email protected]